Talking with your child who stutters
How do you feel when your child is struggling to tell you something? Many parents report feelings of frustration and helplessness. While there is no easy fix for stuttering, there are some things you can do to help your child get his or her words out.
Don’t tell your child to “slow down” or “relax.” This may seem like a very natural and supportive thing to say, but what is more important is that you’re listening to what they have to say, not paying attention to the stuttering.
Don’t interrupt your child or finish their statements for them. Again, the focus should be on the child’s message, not their speech. Children need to be empowered to speak for themselves and not depend on others to get their words out.
Keep natural eye contact when talking with your child. Try to give your full attention to your child while they are speaking by making eye contact and showing that they have your attention. Also, be able to respond to what they are saying to show you were listening and interested.
While speaking to your child, use a relatively slow and relaxed rate. To achieve this, think “Mr. Rogers.” This will encourage your child to speak slowly and stay relaxed when it’s their turn to talk again. Using shorter sentences and making sure the words you use are not too advanced will make conversations easier for them to participate in as well.
Find some time during the day to talk with your child in a peaceful environment. Reducing the speed of your child’s surroundings will promote relaxation and aid fluent speech. It is also important that the child not have too many demands placed on him during this time.
Stuttering should not make the child feels ashamed. Talk about stuttering with your child in a casual way. Also, don’t tease the child about their stuttering and don’t allow anyone else to tease them.
If your child’s stuttering persists longer than 6 months, you may consider getting them evaluated by a Speech Language Pathologist.